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A Behind-the-Scenes and In-the-Crates view of Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper

A Behind-the-Scenes and In-the-Crates view of Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper
November 8, 2018 By: Melanie Groves, Manager of Exhibitions & Registrar

Visitors to Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper all want to know one thing:

How did the exhibition travel from Brussels to Pittsburgh (and all the stops in between)? It’s the most frequently asked question—after, “Seriously, this is all paper?!” and “How does she do it?” In this installment of our series on exhibition-related topics, we provide a behind-the-scenes and in-the-crates look.
 

The exhibition tour began over a year ago, when the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, one of our co-organizers, received the works, flown in from Isabelle’s studio in Brussels. About the same time, here at the Frick, we were carefully packing both the Peter Paul Rubens Portrait of Charlotte Marguerite de Montmorency Princess of Condé oil painting and the paper costume we had commissioned Isabelle de Borchgrave to create, preparing them to be trucked to Memphis. To ensure their safe travel, I served as art courier, and also rode the truck to Memphis. 
Art handlers secure a stabilizing support in travel crate


Crate packed, and ready to be sealed for travel

When I arrived at the Dixon and saw the crates, I knew we had some serious planning to do.


Panorama of exhibition crates in the Dixon’s galleries

Over the last year, I have travelled to each tour venue with the Frick’s artworks, and at each museum I took note of the challenges of moving this exhibition, when I returned to Pittsburgh, I began to take a new interest in The Frick Art Museum doorways. 


Art handlers at The Society of the Four Arts move an exhibition crate through the front door of the Esther B. O’Keefe Building

In the weeks leading up to the exhibition being delivered to the Frick, I double-checked every doorway measurement and created a model of the museum and each crate, to ensure a smooth move-in. 


Crate plan for The Frick Art Museum 

We knew the crate for Lady in Blue would to be too wide to fit through our widest door, and made a plan to remove its interior box outside, and then bring the inner box into the receiving area. Other crates were stored in our temporary galleries.


Crate for Lady in Blue opened to remove inner box


Exhibition crates stored in the temporary gallery

Then, we got to work, unpacking and installing the artwork.


Art handlers prepare to remove Poiret Evening Gown from interior box



Unpacking Robe à la Polonaise from travel crate
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Frick Art & Historical Center (@frickpgh) on

Art handlers open the crate containing Maria-Maddalena d’Austria
 

After the exhibition closes at The Frick Pittsburgh, Isabelle’s work will continue to travel, next to Artis—Naples, The Baker Museum, followed by Flint Institute of Arts and the Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art.

Learn more about Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper

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